25 YEARS OF SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER

KATHIKUDAM to KALAKOODAM

A pipeline distance to disaster

Jananeethi Report on Nitta Gelatin India Limited’s pollution was discussed by subject experts

at 5.00 pm, Saturday, 17th July 2010 At Kerala Sahitya Academy, Vyloppilly Hall, Thrissur.

Dr.M.P.Parameswaran & Prof.K.R.Janardhanan

presented their comments and invited floor participation. There as huge response from the audience .

Dr. M.P. Parameswaran

(Dr. M. P. Parameswaran received a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from the College of Engineering, Kerala, India in 1956, and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Moscow Power Institute in 1965. He was a scientist with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, from 1957 to 1975. Since 1975 he has been a full-time activist with the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP). His areas of interest include environment, education, rural development, energy, publication, etc.

MP is a prolific writer. He has written 29 popular science books in Malayalam and two in English. His books give a panoramic view of science. Radio-activity, atomic science, Astronomy, Mathematics, political science, social science, ecology - these are some of the varied subjects he has dealt with in his books. A vision of "A New World - A New India" guides his thoughts and actions. He received three awards for his books, two National and one State. He was the recipient of two more national awards, one for science popularisation and another for literacy. Articles written by him in various periodicals run to more than 300.)

"Look at the audacity of the senior IAS officers who had no shame to refuse mandatory information under provisions of the Right to Information Act 2005? They should be prosecuted. How do they say a joint enterprise by Kerala Government in partnership with another is a private firm? How is it possible a senior Government servant continues to be the head of such a ‘private’ concern? It exposes how ignorant are our bureaucrats."

The developmental paradigm that prevails in India is that ‘we need industry, no matter the cost it incurs on our lives and the environment’. Who’s to pay the costs? The people. Not those who are able to influence in the decision making, but the silent majority who are often the poor and the marginalized.

Was there a study 25 years ago on Nitta Gelatin India Limited, like the one we have today by Jananeethi Institute, there won’t have the problems as we are facing today. No meaningful fight is possible without an authentic study as it is.

Why Kerala Government did choose a partnership with Nitta Gelatin? Every party, including Left parties, is very romantic about having an alliance with foreign business interests. This question needs to be raised first in Delhi. Like Union Carbide in Bhopal, the NGIL at Kathikudam will refuse to take liability if a situation arises in future. The change in name will help them on technical grounds.

Now we are going to have election to the local bodies. There are more than twenty thousand seats for which there must be at least 200.000 candidates in the fray. We must grill them asking what are they going to do with industrial pollution? We must make environmental issues as the main slogans during the forthcoming election.

Look at the audacity of the senior IAS officers who had no shame to refuse mandatory information under provisions of the Right to Information Act 2005? They should be prosecuted. How do they say a joint enterprise by Kerala Government in partnership with another is a private firm? How is it possible a senior Government servant continues to be the head of such a ‘private’ concern? It exposes how ignorant are our bureaucrats.

The Kerala Government must constitute a High Power Committee (Plachimada model) to assess the quantum of damage to the nature and to the people by the NGIL Company during its more than three decades operations. The damage is colossal as water, soil and air are polluted to the core. Water in Chalakkudy River and private wells is unfit for use. We must explore effective propaganda against the so called ‘compost’ being marketed by the company or its agents. The message should reach to the general public who are at the receiving end of the corrupt practice. Like food adulteration, which is a serious offence with severe legal follow up, compost contaminated with high presence of heavy metals like lead and nickel, is an act of adulteration and it should be treated as a cognizable offence in law and those who are responsible must be treated under stringent laws. Remember, the only institution where we have not lost our faith completely is the judiciary.

Prof. K.R. Janardharan

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Our Journey

1991 Jananeethi office inaugurated
1992 - May 13 Registration of Jananeethi Society
1992 December

Formal Inauguration

Initial services included – public adalats (neethimela), free legal aid, legal literacy, mediation & reconciliation and public interest litigation. Started campaign against torture, death penalty, dowry, child labour and trafficking.

1993 Launch of Jananeethi Publication
1994 Women’s Desk
1996 Environmental Advocacy launched
2000 Helpline for women, children and elderly in distress started
Declaration of first litigation-free village in Thichoor in Varavoor Panchayat
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